Shawn Achor provides an overview of positive psychology and offers seven principles of positive psychology which contribute to individual success and personal performance. Over the years, many have sought to promote positive thinking. Prominent among them is Norman Vincent Peale for example. However, scientific research of late has begun to support the views of positive thinking and the benefits that can be derived from nurturing such a point of view. In this book, Shawn Achor aptly presents to the layperson findings in the related field of positive psychology. This is definitely informative . Achor offers strategies that the listener can implement immediately. The section on the “Tetris Effect” was the most helpful to me. It helped me understand where habits come from and how we can get “stuck” in particular ways of doing things and harbor attitudes unconsciously. The book is well written, easy follow, entertaining and informative. It is readily available to the uninitiated as well. The author reads his own work and does an admirable job of it as well.
Anderson in "The Long Tail" taught us about doing business on the internet. He showed us how everyone could find a niche market to serve. In "Free" he tells us what happens when the cost of doing business on the Web reaches zero. Everyone will not be satisfied with his presentation here, but it is certainly thought provoking.
In this timely volume Anderson first puts the concept of "Free" into historical context. This is an informative section and necessary for a full understanding of what follows. Subsequently, he makes and illustrates his belief that in the electronic market place the cost of doing business will soon reach zero and free is always a choice. All of this he does well. I felt sections dealing with business outside of the electronic environment were weaker,but still interesting. I hope that we see other books on these timely subjects.
The book stimulates speculation on the part of the listener. For example, when computing power goes to zero routine medical diagnostics should cost the health care system zero! As well, physicians may well be freed (sorry) to spend more time on sicker patients. Or, as the cost of electricity from a Wind Farm nears zero, will power hungry vendors (Google server farms comes to mind) move geographically nearer to those sources of power to benefit?
An aside - Anderson's book has a number of side bars in each chapter. In the audio book those are opened and closed with a little "bong" sound. I came to look forward to every such aside.
I hope we hear more from Anderson. He doesn't answer all of the questions and everyone could nitpick. However, he raises issues, illuminates current conditions, and provokes thought. Pretty good combination.
Those not deeply involved in retail or related marketing, will find this book revealing and helpful. In particular, it traces the development of retail in the US describing the “three waves” that have brought us to this point. The most recent third wave which has over taken the market place since 2000 is the focus of the book. In “The New Rules” Robin Lewis and Michael Dart orient the reader to what has taken place in the third wave, explain what it means, and speculate about where retail may go from this point. They portray a number of business which are in current decline (Sears) and those which are adjusting quite well to the new environment (Apple, Amazon). This leads me to a couple of thoughts about the book. First, the examples are very contemporary as they should be and the future success of the firms described is yet unknown. The authors cannot avoid that. The companies used to illustrate firms creating the neuro/experience linkage are limited to tech related retail (again Apple, Amazon etc.). I would like to have heard about the changes in marketing undertaken by Harley Davidson for example in creating a life style as well. These are simple observations and in no way detract from the value of the book. In sum, this volume will be of value to more people than the title suggests. Individuals in not-for-profits and those just interested in the future of the US economy will benefit. Those steeped in marketing and retail, maybe will find it less so. Well written and wonderfully read by Brian O'Neal